Categories
anger Christian Living

Let the Boo-Boo Breathe

“Whoever is patient has great understanding, but one who is quick-tempered displays folly.” — (Proverbs 14:29)

As a teacher at an elementary school, I’ve heard young children say some pretty profound things. I was out on the playground one day with the kids, when a little guy came up to me to show me his fancy band-aid. It was a big purple one that covered half his little forehead. He pointed to it and said, “My mommy says this is a magic band-aid. It let’s the boo-boo breathe.”

Let the boo-boo breathe

Not long after my conversation with the enlightened kindergartener, I was called to my principal’s office for a meeting with an upset parent. Before the mother arrived, I asked my boss how I should respond.

I’ll always be grateful for her advice. She told me that the less I said the better. “Most caregivers just want to be heard,” my principal said. “They need to know that you care about their child.”

So I listened. It was hard when the mother made unfounded accusations–based on false information from her child–but I held my peace until it was my turn to speak. Calmly, I said, “Maam, we each want the same thing; we both want what is best for your child.”

Instantly, the icy wall between us melted. The mother began, with tears in her eyes, to tell of her struggles as a single parent. Like my principal said, an overwhelmed caregiver just wanted to be heard. She needed to know that someone understood.

I wish I could say this is how I’ve always approached interpersonal conflict. The reality is, many times in my life I’ve lost perspective and overreacted in frustration or anger. This has usually only made things worse.

Here are a few ways I let the “boo-boo breathe,” to give myself a buffer zone before acting:

  • Do No More for 24 – When you’re super angry, whatever you say or do is unlikely to help the situation. Give yourself 24 hours (or more) to cool off, and then calmly state your grievances (if necessary) with the other party.
  • Just Don’t It – When you aren’t sure how to react to a situation, do this: NOTHING. Like the old song by the Beatles says, 🎶”There will be an answer. Let it be.”🎶 Okay, this one is almost the same as Do No More for 24, but not quite. Maybe it’s not necessary for you to DO anything.
  • Talk With a Trustworthy Friend – Sometimes it can be helpful to take the decision out of your own hands. Share your dilemma with a trusted friend–someone who is not so close to the situation–and let them help you decide.

Finally, here are a few of my favorite “Magic Band-aid” scriptures to let the boo-boo breathe. I’d love to hear some of yours. Or maybe you have a story about how a relational time-out saved the day. Please share!


“Do not be quickly provoked in your spirit, for anger resides in the lap of fools.” — (Ecclesiastes 7:9)

“The wise fear the Lord and shun evil, but a fool is hot headed and yet feels secure.” — (Proverbs 14:16)

“Refrain from anger and turn from wrath; do not fret–it leads only to evil.” — (Psalm 37:8)

A parting thought:

The power of a particular emotion doesn’t necessarily determine it’s value.

Regular David (me)

Photo by Luca Severin on Unsplash

Categories
Christian Living Perspective

Making the Call

As a kid back in the 70’s, one of my favorite Saturday afternoon activities was watching ABC’s Wide World of Sports with my dad.

The show’s opening scene, accompanied by an olympic style fanfare and a collection of sport clips, was unforgettable. For years, I could lip sync to the golden voice of Jim McKay without missing a syllable:

Spanning the globe to bring you the constant variety of sport… the thrill of victory… and the agony of defeat… the human drama of athletic competition… This is ABC’s Wide World of Sports!

One of my favorite parts of the program was a feature entitled, “You Make the Call.”

A commentator set the scene and then showed a clip of a too-close-to-call play from an epic game. The viewer was then invited to choose from a list of possible rulings by the referees. Finally, the commentator would return (after a commercial break) to share the actual result.

Even at 9 or 10 years old, I loved to debate the possible rulings with my dad. It usually went something like this:

Me: That’s easy, dad. It’s 1st and 10, Packers.

Dad: Son, this is synchronized swimming.

All joking aside, it dawned on me later how chaotic it would be if the fans in the stands actually DID “Make the Call.”

Frazzled Referee: Ok, who thinks it’s 1st and 10 Packers? Raise your hand!


God is the umpire. He makes the call.

“For I know of nothing against myself, yet I am not justified by this; but He who judges me is the Lord. Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord comes, who will both bring to light the hidden things of darkness and reveal the counsels of the hearts. Then each one’s praise will come from God.” 1 Corinthians 4:4-5 (NIV)

But why should God ALONE be the judge?

Because humans stink at it! We don’t know what God knows, and that means there’s always at least ONE thing about someone else’s situation that hasn’t been brought to light.

In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus spoke about loving our enemies and not judging others. As you probably already know, here’s how He made the call:

“Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.” Luke 6:37 (NIV)

One of my favorite descriptions of the word dogmatism is, “to make the uncertain certain.” For the narrow-minded inquisitor there’s no middle ground; one either agrees with them (100%) or one does not.

But where does such intolerance lead? It leads to judging, condemning and not forgiving.

And that’s why God is the umpire. He makes the call.

“Forget about deciding what’s right for each other. Here’s what you need to be concerned about: that you don’t get in the way of someone else, making life more difficult than it already is. ” Romans 14:13 (MSG)


Photo by Brett Jordan on Unsplash